The results of a new study conducted in Denmark by the National Institute of Health and the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen revealed that, in mice, brain aging can be delayed if the animals are placed on a high-fat diet. The conclusion that a high-fat diet could slow the aging of the brain is promising.
When we age, our brain also ages and with it, we lose some of our intellectual capacity and the risk for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s increase. Our brains have the ability to repair the damages done to its DNA, but as we age, this repair process is also slowed, much as the rest of the brain functions.
The damage to DNA has been linked to a premature aging disorder, called the Cockayne syndrome, where the patients die by the age of 12. This new study uses the model of a mouse with Cockayne syndrome to investigate the flaws in the system’s DNA repair.
Professor Vilhelm Bohr, lead author of the study, declared:
The study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment. Our study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone [the] aging processes.
But, a high-fat diet could slow the aging of the brain in all people, it is proposed. Bohr added when talking about the team’s findings:
A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the aging of the brain. The findings, therefore, potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge.
A high-fat diet could slow the aging of the brain, but how? The scientists explained that ketones and sugar are the sources of energy our brain constantly require. When our blood sugar is low, ketones are produced by breaking down the fat in our system.
The researchers found that the mice that had Cockayne syndrome benefited from eating a high-fat diet. They were fed coconut oil, which is rich is medium-chain fatty acids.
More research is needed before the claim that a high-fat diet could slow the aging of the brain, but the scientists admitted that their study yielded some breakthrough results that will surely help with further research.